Cotton On co-founder hoping for $20m for Macedon Ranges horse stud
Breeders Farm spans 243 hectares in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.

Cotton On co-founder hoping for $20m for Macedon Ranges horse stud

Cotton On co-founder Ash Hardwick and prominent horse industry figure David Moodie are looking to turn a quick profit on a premium horse stud in Victoria’s Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne, after putting it on the market with price expectation of around $20 million.

Mr Hardwick, who founded the casual clothing retail chain with his cousin, Rich Lister Nigel Austin and brother Michael Hardwick, acquired the 243.4- hectare Breeders Farm near Romsey with Mr Moodie – a former chairman of Racing Victoria – in November 2021 as part of their acquisition of the Australian businesses of Kentucky-based Spendthrift Farm.

Spendthrift is owned by American billionaire heiress Tamara Gustavson, the daughter of B. Wayne Hughes, founder of US self-storage giant Public Storage.

The American company decided to wind up its Australian operations in late 2021 following the death of Mr Hughes at 87 in August that year. Spendthrift made its move into Australia in 2015 when it purchased the former Yallambee Stud, home to renowned stallion Testa Rossa and other group one winners, and poured millions into the stud operation.

Mr Moodie said he and Mr Hardwick invested money in getting Breeders Farm into pristine condition.

After selling many of the horse-related assets, he said they were hoping to offload the property to a “big hitter” in the equestrian or equine industry.

“It’s an exceptional property in a dress-circle location,” Mr Moodie told The Australian Financial Review.

“We put a lot into the property and took on a lot of risk when we bought the two companies. It’s not been a walk in the park,” he said.

Sam Triggs and Liam Griffiths from Inglis Rural Property in conjunction with Colliers rural specialists Duncan McCulloch and Jack Brandwood have been appointed to market Breeders Farm via expressions of interest.

It’s the second major equine-related property to hit the market in Victoria this year after equestrian event centres, Boneo Park on the Mornington Peninsula was listed for sale last month by the McNaught family, with an asking price of more than $30 million.

On offer at the Romsey property is a large-scale equine breeding operation, recently upgraded to include a state-of-the-art 22-box mare, 14-box stallion barn.

There’s also a large office, and stallion parade, modern breeding barn, two large stable complexes, foaling barn with veterinarian facilities, a large fully equipped mechanics workshop with staff kitchen and accommodation as well as shedding facilities.

“Breeders Farm benefits from highly productive, free-draining volcanic red basalt soils, ideal for breeding and spelling. There has been extensive redevelopment of all post and rail fencing and excellent laneway access throughout the property,” Mr McCulloch said.

Close by are a number of other famous equine properties, including Widden Stud and Macedon Lodge, bought last year by Victorian businessman and pub owner Bruce Dixon for more than $20 million from Crown Casino founder Lloyd Williams.

Mr Triggs said the enormity of the Breeders Farm operation was highlighted by the stallion barn designed to house shuttle stallions from the Northern Hemisphere.

“It’s been built to global standards,” he said.

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